Carrots

5 v 5

Hello and happy almost Friday! I’m in a great mood because it is gorgeous outside and my old boss is taking me out for early birthday drinks tonight (which is Tuesday!) These things add up to me having a bit of trouble sitting still…

My friend/coworker Kara brought me in a treat today. (Side note… isn’t it always weird to just say coworker when they’re your friend, or to just say friend when they’re your coworker, but maybe even weirder to put a slash in an introduction!?) Anyways, she posted a recipe for Blueberry Cheesecake Squares with Hazelnuts and they looked SO good that I commented on the entry asking when she was going to bring them in for me to try… well today was the day.

Oh man was that tasty! She used fat free cream cheese and fat free yogurt in the recipe instead of the heavy cream/full fat cream cheese, but these babies were still 5 points each! While absolutely delicious and I’m so glad I had it, it’s kind of funny that the picture above this is 5 points, and all the food below this (my real lunch) was also 5 points…

Carrot “chips” and raw broccoli (0 pts)

Massaged Kale Salad with 1 tsp olive oil (1 pt) and salt, plus 1/2 cup chickpeas (1 pt) and yellow squash (0 pts).

I also had a toasted wheat pita on the side (1 pt) and used it to eat the chickpeas and salad. For dessert, I had some watermelon chunks (1 pt).

Isn’t that crazy that you can have one blueberry cheesecake square OR carrots, broccoli, chickpeas, squash, kale, olive oil, a pita, and watermelon for the same number of points!?

What are some substitutions you’ve made in your diet to cut down on calories/fat or points? I used to snack on a lot of processed granola bars or yogurt with cereal and peanut butter, but as my points started dwindling down I realized I could get much more bang for my buck if I ate fruit or veggies for snacks. For the same number of points as 1/2 cup of yogurt plus 1 tbsp of peanut butter and 3/4 cup puffins, I can have an apple, a grapefruit, a cup of grapes, AND some watermelon. I might turn into a piece of fruit if I did that, but you get my drift… 🙂

It’s OK to Cheat (Sometimes)

Hey! Whew this day has flown by even though I got out of work early. I ended up making the 5:30pm Bikram class and it was amazing. I think after taking a few days/over a week off, my body craves it and I have such a good time. At first I thought my body would be angry for taking the time off/in shock from the heat, but as soon as I got in the room I was just happy. I found myself actually looking forward to some of the postures and surprised when the standing series was over. I go back and forth with that – sometimes I can’t believe it’s over, and sometimes I can’t believe it’s not time to lie down yet!

After Bikram, I headed to the grocery store for a much needed trip. I got a bunch of produce and some other random things so I can make it through the week making all my meals. I had gotten out of cooking for a bit leading up to my trip and I have been missing it! When I got home from the store, it was already after 8 and my boyfriend actually beat me home so we just decided to whip up something quick. I bought a pound of deveined shrimp, so we boiled them with some white wine, water, blackening seasoning and some bay leaves.

 Then I whipped up a salad with spinach, shredded carrots, roasted red peppers, and garlic sprouts.

And we pan fried some polenta with a little romano cheese for a starch with the meal.

This meal was delicious and SO easy. It’s OK to cheat sometimes… For one, we used bottled dressing (which we never do).

And the polenta was in a tube so we just had to cut it up and pan fry it. Plus, the shrimp were Easy Peel, so they were already deveined so all we had to do was cook them. We usually do most things from scratch but sometimes its nice to just have to take a few minutes to heat things up rather than take the time to do it all – – especially when you’re famished from Bikram!

I’m off to watch a little TV and get to bed early. Be back in the morning!

What’s your favorite cooking shortcut? I looooove canned beans and use them almost exclusively. It cuts hours of soaking and boiling the dried kind, even though I know those are better for me because they don’t add as much salt/preservatives.

Maoz

Today I am so happy that I didn’t have food at home to make lunch because I had an AWESOME meal at a new-to-me place. My friend/former coworker Helene actually emailed me while I was in OKC to tell me about this place she went to, and I knew I had to try it.

Maoz is a vegetarian restaurant that has international locations, and then one in Philly, NYC, and now DC. It opened about 6 months ago, but I’d never heard of it until Helene emailed me about it. It’s on M Street between 18th and 19th, so a bit of a trek from my office, but TOTALLY worth it. The whole concept behind it is that they use fresh ingredients and try to do as much farm to table as possible. From the website,

“Maoz Vegetarian is an international, quick service vegetarian restaurant chain, which brought to the world the delicious Maoz sandwich: FALAFEL. Our menu is strictly vegetarian and is based on simplicity, freshness and care. Our famous Maoz sandwich is home baked pita bread filled with crispy, handmade Falafel balls which are made from chickpeas, a vitamin rich legume, packed with plenty of proteins, minerals and vitamin B. The chickpeas are blended daily with fresh spices and vegetables and then fried in zero trans-fat Canola oil. All of our salads and sauces are freshly prepared every day using handpicked ingredients to assure superior quality and freshness.”

So they have falafel sandwiches, or falafel salads, and then a whole salad bar of fresh salads that are made daily and refreshed every few minutes so you know its as fresh as could be. The wraps come with the falafel in a pita and regular or sweet potato fries, and the salad comes with two mix-ins and a drink. For my salad, I added eggplant and hummus as my two mix ins and here it was before I got to the salad bar:

And then the salad bar was AWESOME. Everything was vegetarian and looked and tasted so fresh.

And from the other side:

The first part of the salad bar had: Olives, Pickles, Hot Peppers, Chickpea Salad, Beet Salad, and Carrot Salad:

The next part had Veggie Salad, Tabouli Salad, Broccoli + Cauliflower, Coleslaw, and Cabbage Salad:

And then the end had a bunch of sauces to choose from:

Salsa, Cilantro Sauce, Hot Sauce, and something else I didn’t catch the name of. I loaded up my bowl with practically everything on the salad bar, and you pay for it PRE-toppings, not by weight, which is awesome in my book. Here’s the finished product:

It was AWESOME. The falafel was really crispy and warm, and a perfect contrast to the chilled veggie salads. In my bowl was:

  • Falafel
  • Eggplant
  • Hummus
  • Chickpea Salad
  • Pickled Hot Peppers
  • Beet Salad
  • Veggie Salad
  • Red Cabbage Salad
  • Tabouli Salad
  • Broccoli + Cauliflower
  • Carrot Salad
  • Cilantro Sauce
  • Salsa

The bowl was HUGE. I should have saved some of it because I ate it all in one go and I was stuffed, but it was delicious, healthy, and loaded with lots of fresh veggies. Maoz is definitely a close second to Juice Joint for my favorite places to get lunch in DC when I don’t bring it. I highly recommend you check it out if you live here or visit DC, NYC, or Philly. So, so good.

I’m actually using a little bit of my comp time to leave early today so that I can unpack, go grocery shopping, and hopefully get to Bikram too. My body is missing it since it’s been over a week since I’ve gone – I really can’t wait to go. I find that when I go after taking some time off I have an awesome class, which is a bit different than I’d expect. I still feel a little unsettled since I got home so late last night and haven’t really had any downtime at all since I’ve been back. I’ll be back!

Question: What is your favorite place to go for lunch if you don’t bring it to work/school? What type of food is it?

Lunch in Parts

Sorry for the late and likely lame post! Work is extremely busy, plus lunch was eaten in parts, and all I know is somehow it’s already almost 4pm! 🙂 I’m going to make this quick because I still have lots to do and not much time in the day!

Morning snack (around 11:30am) was a banana.

Unfortunately this baby was as bruised on the inside as on the outside so I had to eat around the brown parts. ick.

Lunch was in parts, both pretty exciting in my book. First, I had a mini homemade pizza that I made after the main event on Sunday night with some baby carrots.

This had garlic oil, mozzarella, ricotta, basil, and parmesan. Not going to lie, it was a little dry because the crust was thicker on this one and heating it back up didn’t turn out as well as I was hoping. Pizza is pizza though and I enjoyed it. 🙂 And some carrots on the side so I can say my lunch was semi-healthy. 😉

Part Two:

The leftover veggie patty from last night over a bed of arugula – had to try to cancel out the pizza! This burger was awesome today, though definitely better pan fried than in the toaster/microwave. It held together really well and tasted great. I’ll never be buying frozen veggie burgers again – these are so much better, cheaper, and really easy!

Tonight is Date Night so the boy and I are going out to grab dinner and get a few more plants for the balcony. I’ll show some pictures on here once we’re done setting it up, but its really coming together! I’m hoping to get in a run or some sort of workout before dinner but will be back tonight!

Easy Homemade Veggie Burgers

Unfortunately I don’t think I fully kicked off the sickness that was threatening last week – I’ve been feeling kind of under the weather all day. It’s nothing major, it’s just a cough and some congestion in my chest, but I picked up some meds and am going to take it easy so that hopefully this doesn’t turn into a full blown anything. Argh.

Also unfortunate, my lunch did not hold me over at all. My stomach was grumbling about an hour later – not sure why because it was a lot of food, but I was able to hold off until 3:30 or so to eat again. My afternoon snack was awesome and different than usual for me.

A flatout wrap with almond butter and a sliced apple. I rolled it up and this was so good and filling. Winning combo in my book.

I was originally planning on doing something low key like walking or elliptical tonight after work, but I was starting to feel a little worse, so decided to just relax and watch TV instead. I did come up with an awesome recipe for homemade veggie burgers on a whim that turned out awesome and helped me feel a bit better. 🙂

Ingredients (for 2 burgers – 1 point each):

  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 carrot
  • ~1 cup kale
  • 5-6 basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • salt and pepper to taste

I put the carrot, kale, and basil into a food processor and pulsed it a little first, and then added the chickpeas, parmesan, and oats to the mix.

I pulsed that all together for 30 seconds until the consistency was uniform and it looked like this:

I shaped the mixture into two patties:

I cooked one on a pan over low heat for 2 minutes on each side and that was it! These burgers are awesome, and I honestly cannot believe I waited so long to make my own veggie burgers. The fresh basil and parmesan cheese each added such delicious flavor to the mix and the texture was just incredible. I looooove these and am so excited that they are so easy to whip up. It literally took 10 minutes from start to finish for these burgers.

You might be shocked to hear that I topped my burger with cheese… 🙂

Romano cheese to be exact. I served it on a toasted arnold thin with a few basil leaves. I also had some McCain’s Sweet Potato Fries on the side (frozen and cooked according to package directions) and a little reduced-sugar ketchip.

Note: I’m not normally that stingy with ketchup, it was just the end of the bottle.

This was such a simple and awesome dinner, and completely customizable based on what ingredients you have to work with. You could easily sub in a different kind of beans or other veggies, but I think the addition of a fresh herb and the parmesan really make the burger. The texture of these is SO good, I honestly can’t wait to have the other one that’s in my fridge!

I’m going to take it easy, watch TV, drink tea, and scare this sickness away. Let’s hope. 🙂

Eggplant Parm Wrap and Wheat Berry Salad

OK so I know I named Tuesday’s lunch post “Best Lunch Ever” but that was before today and there was no way I could know this was coming. I knew I wanted to use the leftover eggplant from last night but do something different than just having it with the cheese and sauce. I have a few of those Light Flatout Wraps left (which by the way are only 1 Weight Watchers Point and just 90 calories) so I decided to make a healthified version of an Eggplant Parm Sub of sorts.

I microwaved some spinach with a little water in the bottom of the container for 30 seconds so it would wilt and toasted the leftover eggplant rounds while that was going. I put the flatoutwrap down, added the spinach, put the toasted eggplant on top, and then added some cheese and threw it in the microwave for another 30 seconds.

I added some of the heated leftover sauce on top.

And wrapped it up to eat.

This was cheesy and warm and melty and just amazing. On the side, I had two large carrots.

And this amazing Wheat Berry Salad. In a tupperware this morning, I mixed:

  • 1/2 cup cooked wheat berries (whole foods bulk bins)
  • chopped green onions (farmer’s market)
  • chopped green squash (farmer’s market)
  • dried sour cherries (nutsonline.com)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

It was AWESOME. Since it sat together for a few hours, the sour cherries soaked up the liquid and got soft, and all the flavors in this went together so well. Unfortunately I am out of sour cherries but I have more of everything else so I may or may not make this for lunch again tomorrow… mostly may.

The only bad part of this lunch was that it’s now over.

Question: What’s one of your favorite lunches of all time, either that you cooked for yourself or got out at a restaurant?

Wrap it Up

I found these Flatout Wraps in the depths of my freezer and have been loving them lately. I have a ton of groceries right now due to all my excursions to farmer’s markets and the asian grocery store, so I’m trying to use up what I have before going to the store again. So today, I got a little creative with my lunch and it worked out great.

To start, I had a flatout wrap with spinach from the farmer’s market and 1/2 serving of soy tempeh. When I was packing my lunch this morning, I wanted something else for the wrap to give it some flavor and fun when I spotted the leftover breakfast corn and potato hash from Monday morning. I grabbed it and decided it would make a good addition to the wrap because it tastes so good!

I had two large carrots on the side, but forgot toothpicks to hold this massive wrap together.

My fingers worked just fine. 🙂

I also threw together a random little radish salad last night, where I took 6 radishes (also from the Farmer’s Market) added some rice vinegar, a little salt, and a tiny drizzle of evoo. Because it sat overnight, the red from the outside of the radish bled into the insides, so the whole salad was pink.

It was delicious, but next time I’d make it in the morning so it was easier to look at.  For “dessert” I had some fresh strawberries.

It was a delicious, satisfying, and colorful lunch!

What did/will you have for lunch today? Looking for some inspiration. 🙂